Give Me Liberty or Give Me Vets

Houston Takes the Title in a Year of Transition

Weatherspoon, 34, seems about as ready to hang up her high-tops as Kobe Bryant, but Rockers point guard Suzie McConnell-Serio, 34, played her last WNBA game last week. Liberty center Kym Hampton, 37, is already cheering from the stands, and Wicks, 33, has publicly said that she's ready to leave the league in pursuit of a "more balanced life."

Wicks has said, though, that she's contemplating some more seasons overseas with summertimes off, if only because she loves living in Europe. But if the WNBA doesn't jack up salaries in the coming years (they currently average $55,000 per year, and the next contract negotiation is still a year and a half away), the league just may become the professional training ground for out-of-college rookies who rack up some summer experience here and then give their prime to higher-paying leagues in Italy or Turkey or Israel.

If the WNBA does start to meet demands for some kind of equality for women (if not in strict dollar amounts, then in percentage of their own revenues), then the questions of purpose and values that have come up with every major development in women's sports—the passage of Title IX, the absorption of women's collegiate sports into the NCAA, the megamarketing of the WNBA devouring the mom-and-pop approach of the ABL—will certainly surge up again.

Peter Kuhns

In the meantime, says Cooper, the four-time championship MVP, the older players have "left the younger generation with some examples of how to be," both on the court and off. How long will that legacy last? "Until they start making $2- or $3 million dollars," says Cooper. "When money talks, everything else will walk."

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